a) One who appeared as the younger brother of indra to help him.
b) One who is superiror to indra.
Om upendrAya namah.
a) upagatah indram - One who assisted indra. SrI rAdhAkRshNa Sastri gives the following instance in this context. PrahlAda's grandson Bali defeated Indra by doing penances according to SukrAcArya's advice. Indra's mother aditi prayed to God to get Indra's position back. Since Bali had attained Indra's position through penance etc., there was no way of getting back the position easily. So bhagavAn appeared as the younger brother of indra by being born as the son of aditi, and restoring the position of indra by asking for three feet of land from Bali in his yAga Sala.
b) indrasya upari indrah - One who is superior to indra. upa also means above or superior. Sri rAdhAkRshNa Sastri gives the example of Lord KRshNa subduing indra's self-assumed superiority complex in gokulam when indra tried to flood and destroy the place for not offering prayers to him.
One with the Dwarf form.
Om vAmanAya namah.
vAmayati tyAjayati madam balim - One who expelled the pride out of Bali. Vam literally means to vomit out, and vAm could mean one who made Bali literally vomit out his pride. LingAyatasurin gives the interpretation vAmo valgutvam asya asti iti vAmanah - One who has a very charming short form. Or it can be also be interpreted as vAmo vatutvam asya asti iti vAmanah - One who has a short form of a gurukula student, which is how mahAvishNu appeared in front of Bali to ask for the three feet of earth from him. The rupa soundaryam (valgutvam) of the vAmana incarnation is beautifully described in Srimad bhAgavatam - e.g., yajamAnah pramudito darSanIyam manoramam| rUpAnurUpAvayavam tasmA Asanam Aharat|| - Bali, the yajamAna of the yAgaSala, saw the beautiful appearance of the brahmachAri in the dwarf form and offered the seat to him with a completely captivated heart (BhAgavatam 8-18-26).
Another interpretation - sarvANi vAmAni nayati iti vAmanah - One who bestows all the desires of the devotees, or He produces joy in those who see Him, by His effulgence. In chAndogyopanishad we have "esha u eva vAmanIh esha hi sarvANi vAmAni nayati (chAndogyopanishad 4.25).
Om prAmSave namah.
prASnute prakarsheNa Urdhvam iti prAmSuh -
In the vAmana incarnation, bhagavAn very quickly grew from His dwarf form into a form which covered the three worlds under His two feet. As soon as Bali poured the water to accompany his gift of three feet of land into the dwarf hands, the dwarf was no longer a dwarf. The Lord manifested His universal form; the earth was His feet, the sky His head, and the sun and the moon His eyes. The vyAkhyAna kartA-s give the reference, from HarivamSa, to the beauty of His growth from the dwarf form, in relation to fixed objects, the Sun and the Moon. First, He assumed the tall form where the Sun and the Moon were His two eyes. Then as He measured the earth, they were at the level of His bosom. As He measured the space, the Sun was at the level of His navel, and as He lifted His feet to measure the Heaven, the Sun and Moon were just below His knees.
tasya vikramato bhUmim candrAdityau stanAntare |
nabhah prakramANasya nAbhideSe vyavasthithau || (HarivamSa 31.89)
One whose acts are never purposeless.
Om amoghAya namah.
na mogham ceshTitam yasya sah amoghah. When bhagavAn asked for three feet of earth from bali, it helped indra; when Bali could not give the third foot of earth, it helped subdue Bali and make him a great devotee on the spot; subduing Bali led to Bali getting the status equal to indra in a trice, and led to all the gods partaking in the offerings made in the sacrifice. Thus every act of His has a purpose.
Om Sucaye namah.
Sucyata iti Sucih - One who purifies is Sucih. BhagavAn is Pure because He is the ParamAtmA who is uncontaminated by actions and their effects. He is Sucih because One who contemplates on Him becomes pure, and thus association with Him makes one pure. Whatever He does is uncontaminated by anything other than dharma, and so His purity never diminishes. When He helped indra by subduing Bali, one could say He was biased towards the deva-s; not so, since He made Himself the door-keeper of Bali and thus Bali benefited several-fold more than indra did in the process. He is pavitrANAm pavitram, or purer than the purest. The several references from sruti attest to His purity - Suddham apApa viddham - ISAvasya - 8); asparSaSca mahAn Sucih etc.
SrI satyadevo vAsishTha takes this interpretation one step further by pointing out that everything bhagavAn does is resplendent with the beauty that speaks of His purity. All one has to do to realize this is to look at the beauty of His creations such as the flowers, the leaves, the waters of the rivers, etc. So He is all around us displaying His innate quality of purity constantly. He points out that thus guNa of bhagavAn should constantly remind His devotees to be always pure in their actions, words, and deeds as a means to attain Him.
One who is endowed with immense strength.
Om UrjitAya namah.
UrjA means balam or strength. This is one of the shadguNa-s of bhagavAn (~jnAna, bala, etc.). This strength is displayed whenever He has had to take care of the evil demons. SrI satyadevo vAsishTha points out that He is Urjita not only because of His immense strength, but also because whatever strength each being in His creation has, is because He is the source. He gives the following vedic quotes to substantiate this interpretation -
UrjA detAm avasyojasA tvAm pibA somamadAya kam Satakrato (Rg. 8.36.3)
UrjA pinvasva samishodidehi na (Rg 3.3.7)
UrgasyAngirasyUrNamradA Urjam mayi dehi (yajur 4.15)
balamasi balam mayi dehi (yajur 19.9)
Urjo balam sa ojo ma Agan (atharva 18.4.53)
Ojo'si saho'si balamasi bhrAjo'si
As is evident, through many of mantra-s, the devotee is asking for balam from bhagavAn i.e, He is the source of balam or strength in all His creations.
One who is superior to indra.
Om atIndrAya namah.
We saw how He surpasses indra by His lordship and glorious acts. Indra is the king of gods, and bhagavAn exceeds him in wisdom, greatness, etc. SrI chinmayAnanda points out that in vedAnta indra stands for mind-intellect, and the paramAtmA or the Pure Self is superior to mind since it transcends the mind.
a) He who is easily reached.
b) He who has everyone under His control.
Om samgrahAya namah.
The meaning given in the dictionary by Sir William-Monier is "holding together", "drawing togther", etc.
a) SrI Bhattar gives the interpretation "atha bhaktaih ayatnena samgRhayata iti samgrahah" - One who is reached by His devotees without any effort (other than pure devotion).
b) SrI Sankara gives the interpretation "sarveshAm samhRtau pratisamhArAt samgrahah" - One who withdraws everything into Him during pralaya.
c) SrI chinmayAnanda gives the interpretation that bhagavAn is samgraha because he holds the entire world of beings and things together. SrI satya vAsishTha looks at the nAma as sama + graha, or holding everything together in one form, viz. by being the Atma in everything.
The creator of Himself.
Om sargAya namah.
sRjati iti sargah - One who creates. The word sarga is derived from the root sRj - to create. He is sarga since He created the whole world out of Himself. Sarga refers to primary creation as opposed to pralaya or dissolution, and sthiti or maintenance.
The supporter of all the jivAtmA-s.
Om dhRtAtmane namah.
dhRtah AtmA yena sah dhRtAtmA - One who supports all the jIvAtmA-s, or One who supports (conducts) Himself uninfluenced by any change (birth, death, likes, dislikes, etc.).
Om niyamAya namah.
niyamayati iti niyamah - One who assigns and directs the different functions to the different beings. The root yam has two meanings: yam uparame - to check, and yam pariveshaNe - to surround. One who is the Creator of all beings is also naturally the Controller of all those beings. It is He who orders all the mighty forces of nature and prescribes for each the laws of their conduct, the ways of their behavior and the methods of their functions. The Sun, Moon, Air, Waters, Death, etc., are all appointed and controlled by the Lord.
Om yamAya namah.
yacchati iti yamah or yamayati iti yamah - One who rules. He rules all our selves from within. He also rules all the beings of the earth from within the sphere of the Sun. We have the passage from bRhadAraNya upanishad -
yah sarvANi bhUtAni antaro yamayati (3.7.15). Other passages from the sruti-s are "yah pRthivIm antaro yamayati - He who rules the earth from within" - BRhadAraNya 3.7.3, yah AtmAnam antaro yamayati - He who rules the self from within", etc.